The finalists for the fifth ExportNZ ASB Hawke’s Bay Export Awards have been found and they include some of the province’s top companies, including two from Gisborne.
Finalists in the ContainerCo Best Emerging Business category are the Napier-based eco-friendly food wraps manufacturer LilyBee Wrap, Tikokino-based Phoenix Firepumps, and Taradale rowing boat manufacturer SL Racing.
The Tomoana Food Hub Excellence in Innovation category finalists are Waimarama Maori Tourism, engineering and helicopter equipment specialists IMS; Trinity Hill Wines and Phoenix Firepumps.
And in the T & G Global Best Medium to Large Business category, the finalists are First Fresh – the Gisborne-based citrus, persimmon and kiwifruit grower, PetfoodNZ – the Gisborne canned pet food manufacturer, and Re-Leased – a Napier-based commercial property management software developer.
The winner of each category will be announced at a gala dinner at the Napier Conference Centre on 1 August and will contest the ASB Exporter of The Year. The winner of the T&G Global Unsung Hero will also be announced on the night. Winners from each category will progress to the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise International Business Awards in Auckland in November. The event will also be showcasing craft brewers and cider makers as a nod to the region’s growing craft brewing industry.
The judging panel includes New Zealand Trade and Enterprise board member Wayne Norrie, ASB Head of International Trade Mike Atkins, Jenny Brown of Callaghan Innovation and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Customer Director Dan Taylor.
Judge Wayne Norrie, an NZTE board member, said the judges had been very impressed by the quality of the entries, which meant they had a difficult job. “There was a wonderful mix and some great companies missed out because of the quality of entrants. We know the overall winner will be able to stand tall with the best in the country.”
ExportNZ Hawke’s Bay Executive Officer Amanda Liddle said it was clear the judges had their work cut out. “The innovation and sheer hard work on display was as good as any of the four previous awards.
“We’ve been really thrilled with the entries, with a great cross section of industries, including technology, tourism, wine – of course – and manufacturing. And Gisborne has two finalists in the T&G Global Best Medium to Large Exporter section, which is great in just the second year that the region has been included.” Last year’s winner, Cedenco Foods, is also from Gisborne.
Peter Landon-Lane, Chief Operating Officer of T&G Global said the awards continued to show it didn’t matter how big or small companies are to succeed.
“There is a great mix of smaller exporters who are well placed to scale and grow, and we are proud to again be part of an event that pits companies of all sizes against each other.”
Singapore Airlines is among the new sponsors this year, and one of the lucky finalists will win a return trip for two to Singapore. General sponsors of the gala evening are Hawke’s Bay Airport and Napier Port. Other sponsors are Great Things Grow Here, Napier City Council, Grundy Productions, Trinity Hill, Singapore Airlines, OPure, Business Hawke’s Bay, and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
ExportNZ Hawke’s Bay is overseen by Business Central, which represents about 3500 employers across the lower North Island. It provides employer, health & safety, and human resources advice, and advocates policies that reflect the interest of the business community.
Tickets to the event go on sale today on the Export NZ website: exportnz.org.nz